Barco de La Virgen - Naval museum


Plaza la Alameda

Santa Cruz de La Palma

The Ship of the Virgin 

Ship museum and emblematic dwarf (sculpture: Luis Morera) in the Plaza Alameda in Santa Cruz on the east side of the island of La Palma.

The ship of the Virgin was created by the seamen's wish to give the patron saint of the island a fitting welcome on her descent into the city every five years.

There was already a plain boat version at the beginning of the 19th century. Since 1940, the salvos in honour of the Virgen de Las Nieves have been fired from the current replica of a 15th century caravel. In the 1980s, the ship museum was inaugurated inside the Santa María.

A signposted tour through the ship's hull explains the enormous importance of seafaring for the island with the help of text panels in German, English and Spanish. La Palma already played a major role in the colonisation of the New World.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Palmerian port was the third most important in the world after Seville and Antwerp. 

Trade goods such as sugar, wine and silk were exported to Europe and the New World. In order to control the lively transatlantic trade, the Spanish crown endowed Santa Cruz de La Palma with the first jurisdiction in the Canary Islands for New World affairs (Juzgado de Indias) in 1564. 

Among the exhibits are ship models of famous tall ships built on La Palma, navigational instruments, nautical charts and historical documents. 

Incidentally, a visit to the Santa María is anything but boring, even for children: you can climb up to the deck of the ship via a spiral staircase and imagine how explorers and pirates once sailed through the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean and experienced great adventures.

Show route
You are here: East > Santa Cruz de La Palma

Opening hours

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun

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